Nigerian-born and internationally renowned soccer player Obafemi Martins has delighted millions over his illustrious career with his lightning-quick goal celebrations. His energetic dance moves often involve a flurry of back flips, twerks and spins that make him one of the most entertaining players on the pitch.
Recently, Martins explained the origin of his celebration style to reporters, crediting such artistry to his Nigerian heritage. “I think that’s just me being myself, being part of my culture back home in Nigeria,” he said. “It’s something the people do when they’re happy or excited about something. When I score goals and I get excited, this is what comes out of me.”
Appearances aside, Martins takes tremendous pride in every goal he scores and explained some of his other celebratory instincts. “When we score at home, our fans are so loud and supportive that it’s hard not to celebrate. I also respect the players I have played with who have helped me achieve success so when I score a goal for a team I bring my teammates into the celebration.”
Martins has gained a reputation as one of world’s energetic goal-scorers since first entering professional soccer in 2001. Since then, he has represented more than 8 different clubs across four countries including Germany, Italy, Spain and most recently China prior to his retirement in 2019.
Now the retired footballer looks back fondly on those years and is still just as passionate about sharing the joy of goal scoring with others. “Scoring goals is something to be admired and celebrated by everyone watching,” he said. “Watching someone score goals is a beautiful thing, no matter who it is or what team they play for.”
Last week, Nigerian footballer Obafemi Martins gave a rare insight on his trademark goal celebration. Speaking in a press interview, Martins explained how his signature backflip originated, how it has progressed over the years, and what it means to him.
It all started in 2002, when Martins scored his first goal for the Nigerian junior team during a tournament in Finland. Following this crucial goal, he casually took off and performed his first backflip – a gesture which would become ingrained into football culture for many years to come.
Over the years, Martins elevated his goal celebration from just one backflip, to adding double and triple flips in order to fully express his joy at scoring a goal. Martins believes that this is now a vital part of football, explaining that “Football is all about emotion and expressing joy, especially when you score”. As he puts it: “I do back flips when I score goals so that fans know that I am excited and happy about my achievement”.
When asked what was driving him to keep on performing backflips, he shared a very inspiring sentiment: “Every time I see my celebrations around the world it gives me hope and drives me on to achieve more as there will be more people celebrating with me.”
The popularity of his celebration speaks for itself; watch any of his goals and you’ll likely to see hos devotees doing the same along with him. It’s also encouraging to remember that behind each great goal is an even greater story about hard-work and determination – something for us all to take inspiration from.